The pencil hits the clean white TOMS shoe as Juane Pruitt, 26, outlines his next project. Not the average idea of a painting canvas, but Pruitt decided he wanted to try something different.
“I used to paint shirts when I was in high school for money,” Pruitt said, “I just wanted to try a different medium. I can be a little more creative with the canvas.”
Pruitt said he picked the paint brush back up in 2012 because he got bored and needed to occupy his time. He always starts the design off with a pencil and the design determines if he will use paintbrushes or fabric markers.
He works as an assistant site director for YMCA’s child care in San Jose, but he paints to relax.
“I love it. It’s fun. It’s like a whole new universe when I’m doing it,” Pruitt said. When he starts a project he puts in a little work beforehand by doing research and looking at images.
All of his work is not going unnoticed. In March, Pruitt had the opportunity to work with Vernon Davis, the San Francisco 49ers tight end. His artwork is displayed in Davis’ art gallery in Santana Row for a fundraiser that supports at-risk youth who are interested in art.
Since then, Pruitt has been contacted to work with the Oakland Raiders and a linebacker from the Denver Broncos.
Pruitt estimates that he’s completed 70 shoe designs, but his favorite designs range from the Lion King, Michael Jackson and Bob Marley to his newest attempt at a glow-in-the-dark design.
“I sign everything as ‘Kid@heArt’ because it’s about embracing my inner child. I think people lose sight of being young,” Pruitt said. “It’s about being young at heart and still enjoying the things that I used to love doing.”